Is it better for a policyholder to permit concealed weapons and enjoy the immunity provided by the state statute? Or is it better for a policyholder to prohibit concealed weapons and sacrifice that immunity?
We have been asked whether R&R Insurance Services plans to issue a specific recommendation to its policyholders to answer this question. Because each insured is uniquely situated, it is difficult to issue a general recommendation to all our policyholders. Because the law is new and has not been tested by the courts, we recommend our policyholders consult their own attorneys to review their individual situations and implement the best solutions based on their unique needs.
WHAT WE KNOW
- The State of Wisconsin recently enacted legal changes that allow individuals to carry concealed weapons. These changes were enacted on June 21, 2011 as a part of Senate Bill 93. The law will take effect on November 1, 2011.
- The law allows residents of Wisconsin who meet certain requirements to carry concealed handguns and other weapons. “Other weapons” include electric weapons, knives (except for switchblades) and billy clubs.
- The law grants power to the owners or occupants of a premises to either permit or prohibit concealed weapons on their premises.
- The law similarly grants power to employers to prohibit an employee from carrying a concealed weapon in the course of employment. There is an extremely important exception to this rule. The law does not allow an employer to prohibit employees from carrying concealed weapons in an employee’s own motor vehicle, even if the vehicle is used in the course of employment, and even if the vehicle is driven or parked on the employer’s property.
- If an owner or occupant permits concealed weapons on their premises, the law grants immunity to the owner or occupant ”from any liability arising from its decision.”
- If an owner or occupant prohibits concealed weapons on their premises, the law is silent and does not grant similar statutory immunity.
- The State Bar of Wisconsin posted an article entitled “Concealed carry: Could prohibiting weapons in the workplace lead to liability?” .
- The Wisconsin Legislative Council issued a memorandum entitled “Carrying and Possessing Firearms in Wisconsin.” The memorandum discusses various questions relating to the new law.
- The Wisconsin Department of Justice has published a very comprehensive questions-and-answers document addressing the new concealed weapon law.
- Various law firms have also posted summaries of this new law.
While we can’t take a general position on this new law or make specific recommendations to our insureds, we hope this summary and these resources will help our insureds make the best decision possible.
If you have any other questions regarding Wisconsin's Concealed Carry law, please contact your legal representative, or a knowledgebroker can put you in contact with one. 800-574-7000.